International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 17, 2016
Purpose: To comprehend that Christ Jesus can radically transform us
Bible Lesson: Luke 8:26-39
Key Verse: People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. (Luke 8:35)
Luke 8:26-39 (CEB)
(26) Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. (27) As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. (28) When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” (29) He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness. (30) Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” “Legion,” he replied, because many demons had entered him. (31) They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss. (32) A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, (33) and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned. (34) When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. (35) People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. (36) Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. (37) Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. (38) The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, (39) “Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you.” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.
Some Thoughts by Burgess Walter
While Jesus came to the Jews, his mission was far greater than that. We know he went into Samaria and other gentile areas. This journey to the other side of Galilee and on the other side of the Jordan River, does not receive any explanation from Luke. We can assume that Jesus went because the message needed to be sent and the story told. We are not told anything about this man but we can assume he became a great missionary for Jesus. Some of the most powerful teachers and preachers are those that have been brought out of the direst circumstances.
Interestingly, archeologist use pig bones as a way of determining whether an area had a Jewish settlement or not. This area in the Decapolis was a non-Jewish area.
The spectacle that Jesus created in this town was one of curiosity and fear. This man, at one time, was a part of the community. Jesus found him naked and uncontrollable and of no value to the community. In order to save this man from the demons, another man’s herd of pigs would be destroyed. Just as Paul destroyed the silversmith’s livelihood in Acts 19:27 “This poses a danger not only by discrediting our trade but also by completely dishonoring the great goddess Artemis. The whole province of Asia—indeed, the entire civilized world—worships her, but her splendor will soon be extinguished.” Proclaiming God’s message is more important our GNP, although Christians are often called unpatriotic for not going along with today’s fads and trends.
My biggest fear for today is that we are joining the majority, instead of being a true witness for the gospel of Jesus. Knowing Jesus should change us, not make us like everyone else. The man in our story was completely changed and became a proclaimer of Jesus message, that should apply to us if we have encountered Jesus.
There is an old hymn that tell our lesson’s story, it is “Silence, Frenzied, Unclean Spirit” unfortunately I am unable to find a recording of it on Youtube, so I will print the words
"Silence, frenzied, unclean spirit!"
cried God's healing Holy One.
"Cease your ranting! Flesh can't bear it;
flee as night before the sun."
At Christ's words the demon trembled,
from its victim madly rushed,
while the crowd that was assembled
stood in wonder, stunned and hushed.
Lord, the demons still are thriving
in the gray cells of the mind:
tyrant voices, shrill and driving,
twisted thoughts that grip and bind,
doubts that stir the heart to panic,
fears distorting reason's sight,
guilt that makes our loving frantic,
dreams that cloud the soul with fright.
Silence, Lord, the unclean spirit
in our mind and in our heart;
speak your word that when we hear it,
all our demons shall depart.
Clear our thought and calm our feeling;
still the fractured, warring soul.
By the power of your healing
make us faithful, true, and whole.